Cats coach claims Neale ‘started’ fight with Geelong star AND tense QT clash
Lachie Neale was the instigator of a fight with Gary Rohan that has the Geelong star facing suspension, Cats coach Chris Scott says.
Speaking after Geelong’s one-point win over the Lions on Friday night, Scott said the “vision was clear” and proves that Rohan was provoked before striking the Brownlow Medallist across the shoulder and chest.
“I thought Neale struck Gary on the chest and then Gary struck him on the chest,” Scott said in his post-match press conference.
Pressed on if he thought Neale started the altercation, Scott said: “He did. The vision is clear.
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“But I’m certainly not saying he did the wrong thing. That’s footy.
“But I’ve had a pretty good look at what Gary did and I’m comfortable with it.”
Scott also gave his insight into the tense scenes at quarter-time that saw him speaking to Lions players before Cam Guthrie and Joel Selwood told him to return to the Cats huddle.
He said that it was words from Neale — which he says he didn’t quite hear — that saw him engage with the Lions group.
“I was walking onto the ground and Lachie Neale just said to me something like — I couldn’t understand exactly what he said — but something about Gary Rohan,” Scott said.
“And I said, ‘I’m happy to have the conversation with you if you like. I’ve seen the vision and I’m comfortable with it.’
“I suspect he didn’t hear all of that. That’s all that was said.
“I think a few of them, they weren’t paying me compliments. I didn’t say anything after that.”
Neale was seen rubbing his jaw after the incident and holding up three fingers to Rohan, suggesting he could be suspended for three games for the hit.
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The gun on-baller, however, could have his own case to answer for his reaction depending on how Rohan’s strike is assessed.
In discussing the incident at halftime, the Fox Footy panel suggested Neale could be investigated for staging if the contact is deemed not to warrant suspension.
“He’s in trouble now because he’s caught there rubbing his jaw saying he got three weeks,” Nick Riewoldt said.
“So if he turns around now and decide you got him in the shoulder, what does that do for Lachie Neale’s reputation?”
The Herald Sun’s Jon Ralph added: “The smoking gun as you said there is Lachie Neale’s reaction, he cannot take that back now because he could get done for staging.
“All these staging reports are basically about what happens when you try to get a player reported when he doesn’t deserve it so if we are to suggest it is a high incident and that’s the game changer.”